This is a guest post by Russell Jarvis of Travelstart. Thanks for the great tips, Russell!
Travelling really is a very enriching experience where you get to learn about and understand different cultures and ways of life. If you are going to travel, best you do it now while you’re fresh and young. Now before you rack your brain trying to add up all the costs – stop! Travelling on a budget is not as hard as you may think, and you may find that this method of travel is even more exciting as you will get to see your destinations in a different light.
Some Tips to Save You Money on Your Travels
1. Research flight/coach/ferry deals
Never underestimate the power of the Internet – with some proper research you are sure to find some spectacular deals which could drastically decrease your costs. Use flight price comparison websites (I’m biased towards Travelstart 😉 ) to search through the different airfares in one place. These travel websites allow you to search by your dates, number of people travelling and even more parameters. Good websites will display the cheapest flight prices first and include taxes.
2. Skip the hotels
Surely you do not plan on spending too much time in your accommodation, so why waste money on expensive hotels if all you need is a bed and a shower to get ready for your day of exploration? The obvious choices are youth hostels, backpackers, and camping, but there are more adventurous options. You can join a hospitality exchange network like Couch Surfing. It’s a network of travellers who allow each other to stay for free at their own houses. This allows for a personal connection and you get to learn from the locals, which brings us to the next point…
3. Chat to the locals
Avoid getting caught in tourist traps where you are bled dry for your money. If you are able to get friendly with some locals, they will be able to tell you where to go, where to eat, what to look out for, and how to get around without paying like a tourist.
4. No taxis
You might as well make the most of your youth and energy by walking or cycling to get around. Not only are these methods cheap, but you get to enjoy more scenery than if you were sitting in a car. When using public transport, find out about multi-use tickets and deals so that you don’t have to pay individually for each trip.
5. Find deals/packages for attractions
Not all attractions require entrance fees, so do some digging to establish which ones are free to enter. You can also look online for package deals or passes that offer reduced rates for certain sights and attractions.
6. Be the negotiator
You don’t have to be as hardcore as Samuel L. Jackson in The Negotiator, but try to politely negotiate prices where possible. You’ll be surprised how much money you can save on hostels, souvenirs, meals, etc. Locals from other countries often try to boost their prices when they see tourists, so try to haggle a bit; you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
7. Choose the right destination
If you are not dead-set on a specific location, then why not pick one that you know you can afford. The Maldives, for example, are notorious for being very costly. Try to pick somewhere that will still be enjoyable in off-peak seasons, or pick the country that has a great exchange rate.
8. Don’t eat out
Try to avoid restaurants altogether as this could increase your costs unnecessarily. A trip to the grocery store is always cheaper than a restaurant, and most hostels will have kitchenettes where you can cook your own food. Otherwise, look out for local markets, and again, ask the locals where to get a good, cheap meal.
9. Enter competitions
Look for competitions that can win your money or an all expenses paid trip overseas. It’s a lot like the lottery – If you don’t enter, you’ll never win! Although look for competitions that don’t require you to spend any money.
10. Whip out that student card
If you are a student, always keep that card handy and whip it out at any chance that you get. This may help you to get some discounts at attractions and even accommodations.
Russell Jarvis is a content manager for Travelstart, a travel agency specializing in cheap flights based in Cape Town, South Africa. He loves writing about travel and helping others save money while doing it, too.